The eight venues for the 2025 Women’s Rugby World Cup in England have been announced, two years out from the start of the showpiece tournament.
It will be the first time that many sites stage matches at a Women’s Rugby World Cup, with the tournament — increased to 16 teams from 12 — taking place in August and September 2025.
The venues include established rugby outposts such as Sandy Park and Ashton Gate, the home grounds of southwest clubs Exeter and Bristol, with Northampton’s Franklin’s Gardens and the Salford Community Stadium, Sale’s base, also staging matches.
But the tournament will also see games played at football grounds, including Premier League club Brighton’s headquarters and the Stadium of Light, the home of Championship side Sunderland.
York’s Community Stadium, home to the northern city’s football and rugby league clubs, will stage fixtures as well.
The final will take place at Twickenham, the London home of English rugby, with officials hoping for a capacity crowd of over 80,000.
That would break the world record for a women’s game, which currently stands at the 58,498 who witnessed England’s Women’s Six Nations title-deciding win over France at Twickenham in April.
England’s governing Rugby Football Union will hope their women can go one better on home soil after the Red Roses were defeated by New Zealand in last year’s World Cup final at Eden Park, Auckland.
New Zealand, England, Canada and France have already qualified for the 2025 edition by virtue of finishing in the top four of the 2021 World Cup, delayed a year by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The remaining positions will be filled via World Rugby’s new women’s international 15s tournament, WXV, and regional competitions in 2024.
World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont, a former England men’s captain, said: “Following the record-breaking success of Rugby World Cup 2021 in New Zealand, women’s rugby has built an incredibly strong foundation and as one of the fastest growing sports in the world, RWC 2025 is set to take the game to the next level as the biggest celebration of women’s rugby with fans and players very much at its heart.”
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